it's with sadness, and sadly less surprise, that I have to mention the death of Ken Mellor, long time landlord of the requisite jewel of the Quiet Woman at Earl Sterndale near Buxton and Longnor. I spoke to John Clarke on Saturday and he told me that the landlady had died, but a check online suggests it was Ken himself - although, sadly, my lack of trips into the peak district recently suggests that both may have passed away. According to the UKCaving website, Ken died a couple of days or so before 28th August 2020.
Regular readers may know that since about 2018 or so, things had sadly gone a little downhill at the Quiet Woman. I first went with Wee Fatha back in 1993 or similar - another ironic thing since Ken died shortly before my Dad. Wee Fatha always loved the pub, along with Ken - am hoping they are having a chin wag about times past, beers no more and dogs, as you read this.
On one visit with the lovely Tash Ken told us that he used to babysit Cliffe at the Royal Cottage when his mum and dad ran it - to be fair they both at least seemed a similar age, but am certain Ken would have been in his late 70s or 80s when he passed away. Checks on the internet as always have been frugal - one says that the place is looking for a new owner or tenant - this of course would depend very much upon whether or not it was still licensed, and of course, sadly, the circumstances of both Ken and his wife. Sadly I can't see it opening up as a pub again. We will see.
I have a mixture of memories of the pub - and I realise I may have already shared some previously. I know that on my first visit in the early 1990s I had a now discontinued Marstons strong brew called something to do with monks - or royalty? Merry Monk is what I remember - and I recall it was on Cask from the Past as well. Not seen it even in bottles for years but it was a must have beer as I started drinking in 1992. There was also a mild beer on almost always, as well as Marsons Bitter - this was the last beer I ever had under Ken's Stewardship. He also sold Shaw's Brewery beers for a short while, along with Wincle. also for a short while.
People had also a mixed reaction to the pub - I recall visiting with my good friend Davefromtshop many years ago - when they changed requirements for licensees. As the only licensee of his bottle shop (selling draught cask from the past) Dave had to be contactable at all times - when we were in there once his phone went off twice. He apologised and Ken told him to go outside - when he got back in, Ken's wife said "wiv got a bin fo them things". Dave as the nicest man on earth was simultaneously saddened by his failure as well as quite shocked.
On the positive - not forgetting of course his entry on to the National Inventory of Unspoilt Pub Interioirs - was the sale of locally laid fresh eggs and locally made pork pies. Even when he sadly had to stop selling the ones made in Hollinsclough he still stayed loyal to his local suppliers!
Both WF and WK often picked up bottles of the Quiet Woman bottled beers made by Leek Brewery or similar, but sadly over time a few too may grim batches appeared and both parties lost interest.
Overall though, I would like to say that I will really miss both Ken and the pub, and to pass on my regards and message of regret to the Mellor family for their recent loss.
R.i.P Ken Mellor